Pharrell Reportedly Helped Raise $60 Million For Israeli Troops, Angering Palestinian Groups
The money was raised just before a new round of fighting broke out in Gaza.
Pro-Palestinian groups were extremely disappointed to find out Pharrell Williams performed at a recent gala in support of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), HotNewHipHop reports.
Pharrell performed his hit song "Happy" after giving a speech, Variety reports.
Referencing the Pittsburgh shooting, the singer said, "What happened in that synagogue was incredibly cruel, it was wrong, and it’s not supposed to be what our nation is. This group of people have been tested over and over and over again … but you guys show an incredible resilience.”
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According to the Voluntourist, Pharrell also touched on the ongoing struggle between Israel and Palestine saying, “I don’t know how popular this is, but there just shouldn’t be fighting. Abraham was the father of many nations, not just one. There should not be brother against brother. I just want to say that.”
The event was attended by a number of celebrities, including Gerard Butler, Ashton Kutcher, Ziggy Marley, Andy Garcia, Fran Descher and David Foster. It reportedly raised a whopping $60 million.
Days after the gala, fighting broke out between Israel and Hamas on the Gaza Strip that left 15 Palestinians and two Israelis dead, Al Jazeera reports. A ceasefire was declared Tuesday, ending Israel's air strikes.
Death tolls like those of this week and Israel's ongoing occupation of Palestine have many criticizing Pharrell's choice to raise money for the IDF. Some are even calling him a hypocrite, given he recently sent Donald Trump a cease and desist letter over the president's use of "Happy" at rallies, NME reports.
WOWZA. Check out this cease and desist sent by Pharrell Williams to Donald Trump for using “Happy” on “the day of the mass murder of 11 human beings,” as the letter puts it. pic.twitter.com/Mst83Vp0kO— Eriq Gardner (@eriqgardner) October 29, 2018
“It is difficult to understand how actors and performers, who carry the message of life, can support an army that carries out systematic killings, which contradict the essence of life and art,” Ahmed Abu Artema, a Gaza Strip protest organizer told Middle East Eye.
On Twitter, users made their displeasure with the artist known:
Dear @Pharrell, you contributed in raising $60 million to a nasty army that has killed hundreds of thousands of my people. Is this the change you want in the world? You're a partner in crime. #HollywoodFundsTerror pic.twitter.com/SToDRFUST6— Nisreen. (@NisreenAlKhatib) November 7, 2018
Here's a #double_standard for u: @Pharrell sings Happy @ Friends of the IDF Gala (https://t.co/snMuEbzlz0), supporting army maintaining brutal #occupation & violating basic rights of #Palestinians , but dislikes Happy being played @ Trump rallies (https://t.co/iuiudzzQjQ).— Fady Khoury (@FaddyKhoury) November 5, 2018
You’ve lost all credibility. Good luck with the IDF.— Rana Jafar (@Rana_Al_Tajir) November 13, 2018
Not everyone has been critical of the artist. At the fundraiser, gala chair Haim Saban feted Pharrell and the other guests and saluted Israel's armed forces.
"Tonight you have seen up close the unbreakable spirit and the unimaginable bravery of our IDF soldiers and their families,” Saban said. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honors in my life.”
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